Tag Archives: knife crime

13 June 2019 – today’s press releases

For obvious reasons, I’m leaving out today’s big story, but otherwise…

Failed Tory policies lead to nine-year knife crime high

Responding to the Ministry of Justice’s latest knife and offensive weapon sentencing statistics, published today, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The UK is facing an epidemic of knife crime, but the Conservative’s cack-handed response is to repeat policies that have completely failed in the past.

Branding young people as criminals – whether by locking them up on destructive short prison sentences or giving them one of Sajid Javid’s gimmicky new knife ASBOs – traps them in a cycle

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LibLink: Ed Davey: Sajid Javid’s knife ASBOs won’t work. Here’s a better solution

In the New Statesman, Ed Davey writes that knife crime must be treated as a public health and education issue and that Sajid Javid’s punitive approach will not work.

First he outlines the problems with Javid’s Knife Crime Protection Orders:

I can’t imagine what it is about the experience of ASBOs makes Javid think they’ll work for knife crime. In some communities, ASBOs were seen as a “badge of honour”. Many young people openly flouted them. The threat of prison simply doesn’t work as a deterrent for a lot of young people.

Even worse, ASBOs consumed a lot of police time and resources, whether applying to the courts to get one or enforcing its conditions afterwards. And that was at a time when we had far more police.

If Javid doesn’t remember what a failure ASBOs were, he should just ask his boss. Theresa May, as Home Secretary, described them as “bureaucratic” and “gimmick-laden”. “They were too time consuming and expensive,” she said. “And they too often criminalised young people unnecessarily, acting as a conveyor belt to serious crime and prison.” She was right, and that’s why as Home Secretary, she abolished them.

He suggests a different approach:

I’m proposing knife ABCs: Anti-Blade Contracts.

They could be imposed the first time a young person is caught with a knife, but could also be used proactively for children involved in gangs or who might be considering carrying a knife. The young person would sign a contract saying “I will not carry a knife.” In return, they could be guaranteed services to help them feel safer: a police officer or social worker to call whenever they need them, for example.

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Learning about knife crime and gang violence issues facing local communities

Knife crime and gang wars were the reason for me taking this photo (above) in a windy parking lot in Hertfordshire. I met with Kevin who gave me the lowdown on the issues facing his community and what he’d like the Lib Dems to do about it.

Kevin has grown up in an area affected by gang violence and has managed to navigate his way around it sufficiently to have avoided much conflict and to establish a good life for himself and his family.

But he’s the exception, it seems.

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15 April 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

My apologies for the delay in getting these to you – a combination of jet lag caused by a five hour time difference and family stuff is complicating things…

Tories must enact wholescale reform to fix rental market

Responding to the news that landlords will lose the right to evict renters without a reason at the end of their fixed-term tenancy, Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson Tim Farron said:

The housing crisis has left many renters at the mercy of their landlords in an unfair and distorted rental market. Section 21 notices have allowed landlords to turf out tenants without reason, leaving many too

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1 April 2019 – today’s press releases

Davey: Knife crime epidemic demands a properly funded public health approach

The Liberal Democrats have today warned that the knife crime epidemic won’t be resolved by “imposing legal duties without providing additional resources” and have called for the Government to properly fund a public health approach.

The call comes as the Prime Minister hosts a youth violence summit in Downing Street today.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Knife crime is an epidemic, and like any epidemic tackling it requires a public health approach.

Police, teachers, health professionals, youth workers and social services all have an important

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30-31 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

Lib Dems: Stop and search is not the answer

Responding to the announcement that Police in England and Wales will be given greater stop and search powers to tackle rising knife crime, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:

Yet again, the Tories are trying to tackle knife crime on the cheap. It won’t work.

More random, suspicion-less Stop and Searches, carried out disproportionately on people from BAME communities, are not the answer. They will not only consume police time and erode trust in the police, but have little impact in actually preventing people carrying knives.

What we really need is

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Typical short sighted, illiberal rhetoric on knife crime from Tories

When I was growing up people used to refer to a “crime” known as walking down the street in London while being black. People from BAME communities were disproportionately targeted fro stop and search and the like by the Police. Their concerns were not taken seriously.

Twenty years ago the Macpherson Report into the stabbing of Stephen Lawrence found that London’s Metropolitan Police were “institutionally racist.” A BBC report for its 20th anniversary showed that some think that is still the case.

So it’s troubling, if unsurprising, that the Tory Government in power 20 years on thinks that the appropriate response to the terrifying problem of knife crime is to give the Police more stop and search powers. It’s an illiberal response which just won’t work. The evidence from Scotland suggests that treating knife crime as a public health rather than a purely judicial thing is the most effective approach.

Ed Davey said:

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Eradicating race inequality

At Conference last weekend, my maiden speech as Vice President was in support of a Motion on a race equality policy paper: Eradicating Race Inequality produced by Merlene Emerson, Baroness Hussein-Ece and the Race Equality – Policy Working Group. 

I talked about my experience, as a young barrister, of seeking to comfort a Caribbean grandma who couldn’t bear to watch her young, black grandson being sentenced for possession of a knife. 

A knife he’d felt forced to carry to protect himself from gangs. 

I assured her then that her grandson would be treated fairly, but had no idea that my words were as hollow then as they would be if I said them now, some twenty years later. 

The statistics are shocking:

  • BaME people are the most likely in our society to become a victim of crime or to fear becoming a victim* (leading to disproportionate numbers of BaME people feeling forced to carry a knife for protection)
  • rates of prosecution and sentencing for black people are three times higher than for white people **

It is clear that our criminal justice system, like politics, is broken.

I am glad that the Motion was passed and that there was such overwhelming support for it. It provides an excellent blueprint for our policy work in this area going forward. 

Registered supporters’ scheme

I later had the chance to speak in support of a registered supporters’ scheme. 

I acknowledge that there were many aspects of the Motion that were controversial and I will leave it to those better qualified to address those particular points. 

My viewpoint was in relation to attracting more BaME voters, members and candidates to our Party.

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14 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

It’s another trying day, with the ghastly news from New Zealand overnight, and one does despair at the ability of human beings to do inhuman things, but politics rolls inevitably onwards. So, here are yesterday’s releases…

Lib Dems: Short prison sentences for knives don’t work

Responding to the figures showing the number of crimes related to knives and other offensive weapons dealt with by the courts has reached a nine year high, Liberal Democrat Justice Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse:

Both the Justice Secretary and the Prisons Minister have admitted that short prison sentences don’t work and actually increase the risk of re-offending. So why

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9-10 March 2019 – the weekend’s press releases (part 2)

And, as promised…

  • Lib Dems: Labour must stop making excuses on a People’s Vote
  • PM must back independent investigation into Qatar World Cup bid
  • Home Counties knife crime rise shows crime epidemic is sweeping the UK

Lib Dems: Labour must stop making excuses on a People’s Vote

Responding to Keir Starmer’s announcement that Labour will not force a vote in favour of a People’s Vote on Tuesday, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake said:

Labour’s apparent belated support for a People’s Vote needs to be put to the test very soon. If not Tuesday, when? And their commitment must go hand in hand with a three

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7 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases (part 1)

A busy day yesterday and overnight, so today’s press releases will come in two sections…

  • Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work
  • Permanent Secretary exit only ‘managed departure’ from DExEU
  • Liberal Democrats demand better for women on International Women’s Day
  • Revealed: Home Office report rubbishes Boris Johnson’s Stop and Search claim

Home Secretary ‘open-minded’ on right to work

Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has secured assurances from the Home Secretary that he is ‘open-minded’ about her Bill which would loosen rules around asylum seekers’ right to work.

The Edinburgh West MP raised her campaign with Sajid Javid in a joint meeting organised by cross-party group, More …

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4 March 2019 – yesterday’s press releases

Tory Govt must take responsibility for knife crime epidemic

Today Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey has called on the Conservative Government to take responsibility for the knife crime epidemic and invest in more police and youth services.

Ed Davey said:

Far too many innocent young lives are being taken by the epidemic of violence that is consuming our cities. Instead of just lamenting these tragedies and talking tough, Ministers need to accept their share of responsibility for this crisis.

When children are excluded from school and see their youth centres closed, it’s hardly surprising that so many of them fall into

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26 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems join Amnesty International UK in fight against NI abortion laws
  • Cable: Housebuilders must not pinch their profits from the public purse
  • PM in the process of creating a double cliff-edge
  • Govt’s no deal papers shows PM driving UK to a cliff edge
  • Labour fail to oppose Govt’s controversial knife crime orders

Lib Dems join Amnesty International UK in fight against NI abortion laws

Today, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine will join women impacted by NI abortion law along with Amnesty International UK, other MPs, and other service providers and activists to hand in a petition to …

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6 February 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Thousands dying waiting for social care as Govt ignores crisis
  • Lib Dems: 50 days until Brexit cliff-edge
  • Greg Clark’s warning exposes recklessness of Tory Govt
  • Lib Dems: Govt must investigate civil service support for Tory meetings
  • Lib Dems threaten veto to force Govt u-turn on knife crime

Thousands dying waiting for social care as Govt ignores crisis

Responding to the research by Age UK showing that more than 50,000 older people have now died waiting in vain for care during the 700 days since the Government first said it would publish a Social Care Green Paper, Former Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb said:

These figures

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31 January 2019 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime
  • Moran: Rough sleeping shames our whole country
  • Tory Govt woefully unprepared for no deal Brexit
  • Cable: Cancelled recess shows extent of Tory chaos
  • Davey: Shocking new figures expose prison crisis
  • Pharma giant stockpiling emergency trauma packs
  • Huge increase in part-time and postgraduate graduates
  • Cash-strapped councils asked to prepare for no deal is an insult to local services

Govt must follow evidence not chase headlines in fight against knife crime

Responding to the Home Secretary’s plan to give new powers to the police to tackle knife crime, Liberal Demcorat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said:

The UK is in

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2 November 2018 – today’s press releases

It’s a sign of how much is going on ‘under the radar’ whilst Brexit unfolds that, of today’s press releases, only one is obviously Brexit-related…

Cost of Brexit spiralling out of control

Responding to the Government’s admission that Operation Brock will now cost £30 million, £10 million more than was previously stated, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Brexit, Tom Brake MP said:

The cost of Brexit is continuing to spiral out of control. The Conservative Government’s plan to turn Kent into a car park, Operation Brock, is now costing the tax payer an additional ten million more than the figure they gave in the

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LISTEN: To Pauline Pearce talking about finding productive outlets for anger on Woman’s Hour

Liberal Democrat Federal Board member and Hackney mayoral candidate Pauline Pearce was on Woman’s Hour yesterday talking about how she channeled her anger into her campaign against knife crime.

She talked about how she was so angry that the 2011 riots had stopped her doing her community radio show, her escape from chemotherapy and radiotherapy and focus for her campaign. That’s what motivated her to rail against the unfocused

She had been campaigning on knife crime long before her son became victm to it. She described how her personal experience intensified her anger and she had to “put the sensible hat on.”

Her involvement in politics and the Liberal Democrats gave her a bigger platform to campaign on and an understanding of how things worked that helped her anger to be put to productive use.

Listen here from around 25 minutes in.

And if you want more Pauline, listen to her Ted Talk from 6 years ago:

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Knife Crime

Tories cheered when a reduction in Police budget was announced. Conservatives were going to cut funding, and the Police were going to keep their coverage and levels of activities by better utilisation of their resources. Even when the Police warned that crime would go up with the proposed cuts, the budgets were reduced. The consequence has been an increase in crime. Eventually, the Tories will have an epiphany that if they provide more funding to the Police, they will have more resources to fight crime. They never learn.

Knife crime went down from 2011 to 2015. But in 2017 alone it went up by 22% from 2016, and this was across the country, the 22% equates to just under 40,000 offences. There are many suggestions as to why there has been an increase in knife crime. Government critics have sited reduction in stop and search, closing down of children centres and cuts in the number of Police officers. In England and Wales, there are 21,000 fewer police officers now than there were in 2010 and in that same period council spending on Youth services has fallen by more than £750 million.

Others suggestions relate to drug and gang wars being the reason why youngsters carry knife. Social media is another reason given because these youngsters can have a massive following on platforms like Facebook and with significant followers backing down is not seen as an option.

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Caroline Pidgeon writes… Action, not rhetoric, on knife crime

When it comes to knife crime there appears to be two default settings that most Westminster politicians adopt.

The first is to turn a blind eye to the issue for large periods of time.

For example in London during the six week General Election period, 26th March to 8th May, there were 789 victims of serious youth violence, 1,231 victims of knife crime and 441 victims of knife crime with injury.  That’s 40 a day.

Yet despite these figures the issue was almost entirely ignored.   Few politicians campaigned on the issue or wanted to talk about it.

The second position for Westminster politicians is to suddenly take a very short term interest, but to be totally obsessed with the idea that ‘fixed term’ sentences are the only solution.   

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Julian Huppert MP writes: We need effective action on knife crime

Florence With Knife 1There is a problem with knife crime. Too many of our fellow citizens suffer from knife attacks, and even more live in fear of being attacked with a knife. Even though fewer people are carrying knives, too many still are.

The Tory response to this, backed by Labour, has been to rush into legislation forcing judges to impose a mandatory jail sentence for anyone who is found in possession of a knife twice.

To deal effectively with the problem we should try to understand why people are carrying them.

Most of …

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Lib Dem opposition to mandatory jail terms for second knife offences show our principles are intact

The Court House - Warwick - Coat of ArmsThe Lib Dems have sold our soul, abandoning all principle, since going into Coalition – so goes up the cry from the party’s detractors, both internal and the very many beyond.

That trite claim doesn’t sit very comfortably with the party’s actions today, voting against Labour and Conservative MPs’ united support of mandatory jail terms for any adult convicted in England or Wales of a second offence involving a knife. As the BBC reports:

Conservative MP Nick de Bois championed the policy, which won

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LibLink: Nick Clegg: This knife crime law won’t work

Police motorbike - Some rights reserved by Metropolitan PoliceOn Monday, I wrote about the reported Coalition tension over Tory plans to bring in mandatory 6 month jail sentences for carrying a knife. I said that:

It’s important that Liberal Democrats stay in this debate and make the evidence-based case. Nobody else will do it for us. We may not be able to stop a bad law being passed, but we need to oppose it calmly, clearly and without rancour.

I would not suggest for a minute that the two events …

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Could Labour and Tories unite to pass tougher knife crime sentencing? How should Liberal Democrats react?

FSI working at crime sceneLast Friday, Joe Otten wrote about the leak of letters  revealing that the Liberal Democrats were opposing Tory plans to introduce a six month mandatory sentence for those convicted a second time for carrying a knife.

Today’s Daily Mail makes two claims. The first is that Labour is getting ready to “humiliate” the Liberal Democrats by siding with the Tories and they could pass this together. Secondly, they say that Nick Clegg was “bouncing off the walls” when he discovered the leak.

We know from the feature on

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Knife crime leaks reveal coalition battle over mandatory sentencing

The Court House - Warwick - Coat of ArmsLetters between government ministers debating whether a second offence of carrying a knife should attract a mandatory prison sentence have been leaked to the Daily Mail. The timing of these leaks must suggest an attempt by some Conservatives to exploit the appalling murder of Anne Maguire for political ends.

It may be a little less precise, but I am reporting this as ‘second offence of possession’, because more serious knife-related offences attract mandatory prison sentences already, including the offence, new in 2012, of …

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Norman Lamb writes: Tackling gun and knife crime – hospitals and police working together

nhs sign lrgTrying to make different departments work effectively with each other is a challenge that all Governments face, and this one is no different. It could be all too easy for objectives that fall between two departments to end up falling through the cracks.

That is why I am pleased to report on the efforts we are taking in the Department of Health to roll out the ‘Cardiff model’. This is a very simple measure that can have a dramatic impact on knife crime in an area.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto included …

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